Meet your Doula
My name is Shanika Helaku. I am the co-creator of two starseeds, a member of an intentional living community, an educator, a budding herbalist, activist, a member of the Chicago Birth Workers of Color Collective and an aspiring midwife. I became a birth worker when I had the privilege of birthing my sun into this world in a way that honors my body, my culture(s), mama Earth, my community, and my ancestors. I was empowered to step more fully into my capacity as a healer and a woman upon carrying life in my womb. Birthing this life was the catalyst that helped me interrogate the systems that deny people--namely, black, latinx, indigenous, undocumented, queer, and trans people--a reproductive experience of their choice.
I birthed both of my children at home without medical interventions. I breastfed my first for 28 months and am currently breastfeeding my new nursling with no end in sight. I had the privilege of working with a doula for each of my pregnancies and that has made all the difference in my experience. I honor those who can show up to support, hold space, form deep connections, and not interfere with the instinctual unfolding of birth.
I was raised by my grandmother and she taught me to be compassionate. I actually learned compassion when I birthed life from my womb and all her lessons that were stored in my body manifested in the form of new life. I see my work as a doula as a love offering to the universe and as a means to pay the love shown to me forward for our collective evolution.
I am inspired to work with families of color and queer families because of the rich and often untold and unseen experiences of the past and present that have been drowned out in our society. Our families have a wealth of wisdom around honoring the Earth and the rhythms of nature when it comes to fertility, pregnancy, birth, and death. I celebrate these offerings of wisdom and integrate them with other practices for a holistic, inclusive, and sacred approach to reproductive/physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and overall wellness.
As a doula, I encourage families to consider styles of parenting that extend well beyond their own children and cultivate deeply connected relationships to other people and other life on our planet. I am an advocate for uninterrupted birthing, breast/chest feeding, cloth diapering, baby wearing, a whole foods diet, natural/homeopathic remedies, placenta medicine, rituals, and ceremony. I believe that there is very little that clean water, fresh air, and skin-to-skin connection can't cure. We are all interconnected; we have the power to bring consciousness into every element of our lives and offer mindfulness to our impact on all life. I strive to embody the South African philosophy Ubuntu--I am because we are!